By Darryl G. Smart
On Wednesday the Town of Tillsonburg received a huge boost to make a splash towards its recreational facilities.
Tillsonburg received $3.7 million – $2 million federal and $1.7 million provincial to help pay for some much needed improvements to the Tillsonburg Community Centre following a major funding announcement.
The money, which the Town of Tillsonburg will also invest $1.3 million, will go towards a new pool deck, barrier-free change rooms and outdoor splash pad among other things.
“The Town of Tillsonburg is pleased to partner with the Federal and Provincial governments to renovate and improve our aquatics facilities for the next generation,” Mayor Stephen Molnar said
Tillsonburg and Norfolk were among 35 communities across Ontario who received a piece of the $35 million in new federal and provincial infrastructure funding.
The full scope of work totals nearly $5 million in recreational infrastructure improvements including upgrades to the pool roof, lighting, health club and sauna. Gender-neutral change room facilities will be added, as well as a ramp to help those with mobility challenges enter the water safely.
There will also be a new free-to-use splash pad outside the Lake Lisgar Water Park. This will provide children with new opportunities for outdoor water-based play.
“I’m pleased to see investments being made to help revitalize important cultural and recreational infrastructure in Oxford,” Oxford MPP Ernie Hardeman said. “These are facilities that are vital to maintaining healthy lifestyles and enjoying social and recreational programs.”
That sentiment was shared by some of the people leading the charge in Tillsonburg’s vision.
“Our recently updated Community Strategic Plan identifies lifestyle and amenities as a strategic priority,” Tillsonburg CAO Kyle Pratt said. “The vision is for Tillsonburg to be a vibrant, engaged community, built on partnerships, that offers a high quality of life for everyone. This announcement brings us closer to achieving that objective.”
Tillsonburg director of the recreation, culture and parks department Chris Bard said many of the upgrades have been on our radar for a long time.
“But we knew we couldn’t do them alone,” Bard said “I’m pleased we’re going to be able to work together and get them done.”
Mayor Molnar said getting the funding was a team effort.
“I want to recognize the Federal Minister of Infrastructure Catherine McKenna and her Provincial counterpart Kinga Surma, as well as former Provincial Minister Laurie Scott and Oxford MPP Ernie Hardeman for their tireless efforts,” Molnar said.
NORFOLK GETS MONEY FOR ARENAS, LIBRARIES AND LYNN VALLEY TRAIL
For its part, Norfolk County will receive money to upgrade dressing rooms at arenas in four area communities.
The $1.32 million from the federal government and almost $1.1 million from the province will allow for dressing room upgrades at the Delhi, Langton, Port Dover and Waterford arenas. The money will be used to create gender-neutral and accessible dressing rooms as part of Hockey Canada’s new guideline requirements to improve hockey player development.
The county will invest $880,110 to the project.
The Lynn Valley Trail Association and Norfolk County Library Board were also on the receiving end of the government funding. The library board receives $277,000, while the LVTA will get $107,098.